This is a guest post by Jack Warner.
The world has changed significantly over the last year and a half, especially for travellers. From travel restrictions and bans to strict social distancing guidelines, avid travellers have had to postpone their travel plans. We have no longer been able to explore the world, at least not with the reckless abandon we were once used to.
In some countries, tourism has slowed down if not completely stalled. While some are still not allowing local holidaying, even for their own citizens.
With so much uncertainty about the possibility of ever travelling again like before, world-famous tourist hotspots have developed smart ways of using technology. The aim is to ensure their doors remain open for tourists, albeit not physically.
With technology, travellers from all over the world have adopted a new way of exploring. You can travel to the best destinations without leaving your home. Here is all the information you need about virtual technology and its place in tourism. Plus, we share a list of the best virtual reality travel tours, enabling you to see the world from home.
What is virtual tourism?
Virtual Tourism is a technological advancement that offers travellers an opportunity to experience world tourist activities and destinations like never before. With this technology, you can travel to most, if not all, tourist destinations globally without leaving your home.
Virtual tourism is made possible with the use of virtual reality, 360-degree videography and audio technology, and still images. With any of these methods, you can travel to different tourism destinations for a near-real life experience.
For virtual reality, you will require a VR headset. But in the absence of a headset, you can still visit these locations on your mobile devices or computer for a 360-degree virtual experience with the click of a button.
Benefits of virtual reality in tourism
You can enjoy many benefits from using virtual reality technology for tourism. Of course, the ultimate benefit is the ability to explore places and take part in activities without leaving your home.
Save on travel costs
It is not possible to mention the benefits of virtual travelling without noting the saving benefit it offers.
Saving travel expenses is a huge benefit offered by virtual tourism to travellers. Consider what you would pay to travel physically to a destination. With virtual travel, you spend a very small percentage of your travel savings. Most virtual travel destinations charge a minimal fee for their virtual tours, making the experience affordable to most travellers.
Take advantage of this cost-saving benefit and travel virtually to world destinations you once only dreamt of seeing. A good example is the ability to tour all Seven Wonders of the World virtually. This would have taken great planning and saving if done in the traditional way of travelling. It’s an experience a lot of people cannot afford – until now.
An easier way of travelling
With virtual tourism, you can travel to dream destinations without leaving your home. This means that you are not limited by travel logistics, budgets, flight availability, ability to travel, or safety issues. The best part is that you do not need to adjust to different time zones and weather changes. You can travel at any time, and that’s an unbeatable feeling.
How different industries use virtual technology for tourism
Virtual technology in tourism allows tourists to get into the action through interactions with virtual environments and a chance to discover more. This curated experience allows you to enjoy different aspects of a destination. These can include participating in virtual birdwatching, yoga, nature walks or even stargazing.
With 360-degree video technology, you get to come as close to the action as possible. You can enjoy near reality experiences like scuba diving, mountain climbing, hiking, rollercoaster rides, and days on a beach on a remote island. The possibilities are endless.
Virtual reality photography uses still images compiled using special software to create high-quality 360-degree angle images. With VR photography, you can experience living in a world-class hotel, see the Mona Lisa or visit the best art galleries from any location. Or take a stroll in a world-class museum with the click of a button.
Hotels and tourist destinations also use virtual technology to deliver the best views of their locations to their guests. For years, CVBs have used virtual technology to showcase the best features in different destinations, including culture, interesting activities, fun trivia, and attractions.
Local governments and hotels are using 360-degree virtual reality video technology to capture details of destinations. This way, you get to enjoy realistic tours to different places without having to leave your home.
Best ways to explore the world with virtual reality
Visit a National Park
Perhaps you have long dreamt about going on a safari in Africa or visiting a world-famous national park. Virtual tourism gives you a perfect chance to make the dream a reality without having to save for the trip. Wildlife sites and luxury tour operators like explore.org are offering live wildlife footage and safari adventures at the best parks. Some even include live zoom Q&A sessions for tourists interested in learning more.
Go on a virtual hike
Thanks to panoramic videos, you can now enjoy 360-degree high-resolution videos that allow you to explore hiking trails from your house. Virtual hiking can take you to the odds-defying G20 and Angel’s Landing on the same day.
Virtual hiking gives you access to information on what to expect on different hiking trails. This information can be handy when planning your next hiking adventures.
Watch virtual theatre performances
If you are one for cultural experiences, you can access the best theatre performances virtually from the best theatres around the world.
London’s Globe Theatre offers a virtual experience for anyone looking for Shakespeare plays, While virtual opera and ballet performances take place virtually from the Royal Opera House. For more details, you can check the Opera Vision Website, including information about performances by Verdi, Mozart, and Puccini, or the Metropolitan to stream the best opera performances.
A trip to the Seven Wonders of the World
If your travel bucket list includes plans to visit any of the seven wonders, you can finally do so with virtual tourism.
You can now visit not one but all Seven Wonders of the World without worrying about the stressful planning, timelines, airport transfers, and travel expenses. Whether it’s hiking the Great Wall of China or seeing the pyramids in Egypt. From the Christ the Redeemer statue to the Taj Mahal, the options are limitless.
For an amazing experience, you can visit AirPano, Panoramas, Google, and New York Times websites for the best world wonders experience.
Watch travel shows
There are numerous travel shows on different streaming channels like Netflix, HULU, YouTube TV, and Disney+. These are hosted by travel bloggers who sample and review world destinations for travellers. If the options from your country are limited, you can explore travel shows from other counties. If you are affected by geo-restrictions, you can use a VPN to unlock content from other countries.
Once connected to a VPN, adjust it to your desired VPN server location. Then enjoy virtual travel blogs from other parts of the world.
Travel to the North Pole without braving the cold
Do you dream of touring cold regions but are afraid of the low temperatures? Instead, discover 360-degree exploration videos of the caves in Antarctica and the North Pole. Enjoy a trip under and above the ice without the scary temperatures.
If you love Frozen the movie, take a live-cam tour to Bergen in Norway. It’s the city that inspired the movie and is one of the coldest places in Europe.
Even with travel restrictions, you can visit some of the best art galleries and museums around the world.
Before the pandemic, Google Arts and Culture collaborated with more than 2500 global museums and galleries on a project that was meant to give art and history lovers a virtual viewing experience. As it turned out, this collaboration could not have come at a better time.
The options on offer include:
- The Louvre, Paris
- National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
- Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
- Minneapolis Museum of Russian Art
- MoMA, New York
- Casa Batlló, Barcelona
- Art Institute of Chicago
- Russian Museum
- Vatican Museums
- British Museum
- Smithsonian Museums
- Palace Museum, Beijing
The Japan National Tourism Organization has put together a 360-degree virtual reality movie of Japan for tourists interested in exploring the country. From sushi-making and tasting experiences to hiking the bamboo forests and the famous Shibuya Crossing live stream. This virtual experience gives a glimpse of what Japan has to offer to tourists.
Virtual scuba diving
Are you are a lover of big watersport adventures? VR technology for scuba diving can make your scuba experiences a reality from home. National Geographic offers 360-degree streaming videos of different diving destinations from the most famous oceans around the world.
All you need for this lifetime experience is a VR headset to explore the marine ecosystem without needing a scuba suit.
The rise of virtual tourism
With the availability of high-end VR technology, more and more people are embracing the rise of virtual tourism. As a traveller, you get to choose how you would want to travel virtually. This includes the chance to experience a 360-degree view of any destination worldwide. Virtual tourism offers you the perfect opportunity to imagine yourself in any location in the world.
This is a guest post by Jack Warner. Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media, sharing expert insights on cybersecurity and privacy tools.